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Oliver Cromwell Is an Icon in the History of Britain


Inasmuch as history is concerned, Oliver Cromwell is one of the wide-read and remembered epitome and icon in the history of Britain. He is one of the controversial figures in the history of Britain with various leaders and personalities having different views about him. For instance, some like David Sharp saw him as dictator while others like Thomas Carlyle rate Oliver as a hero who fought for liberty. For instance, the BBC 2002 poll rated Oliver as among the top 10 Britons a position not held by Ireland, which criticizes his record of accomplishment. He played a critical role in the leadership of through his revolutions (Oliver Para.3). His actions manifested in Britain shaped the thinking and psychology of the people towards any kind of revolutions. A little recap of his history, Oliver was born in 1959 and die in 1658, he was a military and a political leader and who is well known for his role in overthrowing the current monarchy and making England to become a republican common wealth territory temporary. In addition, he acted as a lord protector of England, Ireland and Scotland. Playing a role as a new model army, Oliver managed in the execution of King Charles in the year 1649 after he defeated the royalists in the well-known English civil war. This execution saw him dominate the commonwealth of England. He served as a member of the parliament of the Britain parliament wit Charles II as the King.

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Member of Parliament

Oliver was a member of parliament in the period 1628-1629 and from 1640-1642.

He assumed parliament in 1628 representing Huntingdon that experienced later dissolution. Oliver returned in parliament for three weeks well known as the short parliament. A second parliament was recall returning him to the parliament where he served as a military commander against the leadership of Charles I.

Military commander

Oliver also was a military commander other than his serving as a parliamentarian. Before joining the parliament his military experience was only in the trained bands. At the age of 43 years, he recruited a Calvary military after he blocked the shipment of valuable silver plates from Cambridge colleges destined for the king. He fought at various wars and won most of them. This saw him being alleviated to the position of governor of Ely and was made a colonel in the eastern association. In the English civil war, Oliver played a key role as a military commander.

The English civil war

The English civil war kicked off in 1642 following some political crises related to parliament. Although Oliver had, no formal training in military his tactics seemed or rather favored him against his opponents. For instance, strategies he employed consisted of training his Calvary in three ranks and pressing forward and mostly relaying on impact as opposed to firepower. In addition, his invention in use of close orders Calvary and allowing his troops to ride on knee to knee made his troops to succeed in their mission. For instance, the Marston Moor and Naseby attacks employed these tactics to deceive the opponents, which led to the hostility of the Irish people.

The Irish Campaign

Cromwell was hostile to the Irish; hostility which is attributed to be pitched both on politics and religious. This mass execution explains the reason why people hated Oliver of his being “…associated as a religious persecution and a mass dispossession of the catholic community in Irish” (Smith 12). The Irish cursed him and he received great condemnations due to his actions, which led to the death of many people. After the war, Oliver was elevated to the position of a lord’s protectorate.

The Lord Protector

Cromwell ascended to the position of lord protector during1653-1658. He descended to this position after the dissolution of Barebones parliament, when John Lambert came up by putting forward a constitution called instrument of government. This constitution was to make Crowell the chief magistracy and to be the administration of government. In his ritual swearing in as the lord protector, Oliver dressed in attire different from the expected monarchical insignia. His two major key roles in this new assigned role was to ensure that the country heals and settles back to is normal state of condition as it was and make it revive from the state of the regicide and the civilian wars which had occurred. This therefore meant that he was to ensure that the government was stable and the leadership renewed to welcome proper ruling and promotion of the spirit of healing and reconciliation. In his acceptance and speech he was of the opinion that the government which as lead by one man and a parliament were fundamental in ensuring that the government runes well and objectives and goals of the government are achieved (Worden 32). In his leadership, social priorities were of importance as compared to forms of government whereby he emphasized that al these were to be in line to ensuring that people have good interest to the nation as opposed to other things. Other initiatives that Cromwell undertook were some judicial system reforms that were to ensure that’s there was a restoration of order in the politics of the English. These reforms were to provide clear guidelines and justice for fair trials of people.

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Another thing that Cromwell did was to reduce direct taxation slightly. This initiative targeted to stimulate economic growth and make people especially with low earnings to be able to afford certain products. Tax reductions also were one of his duties and initiatives of bringing the nation to the state where it was before the civil wars. It was a strategy of encouraging people to engage in activities geared towards economic development. Cromwell also serving as lord protectorate also ensured that peace prevailed, especially with the Dutch, which saw the first Anglo-Dutch war end. These efforts also showed how Cromwell was determined in ensuring that there was no more blood shed in the country. He stressed the need to restore order in most of speech for instance to the first protectorate parliament in 1654. The parliament was slightly resilient as they pushed for more radical and republican reforms but consequently agreed to Cromwell terms. Consequently, they began on an initiative to programs of reforming the constitution (Adamson 4). He also set up a commission basically known as ‘triers’ who were assigned the responsibility of determining those ministers and schoolmaster that were not fit to hold offices which saw them being evacuated and send home and replaced with more competent people to execute the same roles. The people he employed thereafter were responsible for tax collection and supervision of the militia. Appointments to these commission was done fro the career politician with other being done based on the zeal by puritans when in came to welcoming the major generals. Some of the commissions feared appointments because the thought the appointment could deter their mission of pushing for reforms and authority.

In terms of the economic growth, Cromwell “…was aware of the contribution the Jewish community made to the economic success Holland that was the leading economic rival of the England” (Adamson 32). Following his acceptance to private worship to those who did not confess to the evangelical Puritanism he decide to invite back the Jews by encouraging them back to England to come and speed up the recovery of the country which has slumped because the civil war that had caught up with the country. The late Edward I had banished the Jews from England 350 years back. Therefore, civil war can cause devastating effects on the economy of a country a situation that England was now witnessing. Oliver died of malaria and other complications in 1959.

Death of Cromwell

He died in 1959 after ailing. After his death, his son Richard succeeded him as a Britain lord protectorate that had no ability lacked power base either as an army or in parliament. These capabilities could not allow him to lead and therefore he was forced to resign in May 1659, which marked the end of protectorate in Britain. As a result various amendments to constitution were undertaken which saw Charles II invited back from his exile to be the king of Britain this time under the restored monarchy. It was in 1600 just after the son of Cromwell was rendered unable to led and the end of protectorate. His leadership contributed positively to the current political standings of Britain

Political Reputation

The historians and some of his allies have painted Oliver differently during his lifetime and in his role that he played in Britain. For instance, he haves been painted as hypocrite by some historians as being power hungry and only motivated to ascend to the power. On the other hand, John Spittle house compares him as “…being Moses and rescuing the English and taking it to the safe place that is thorough the read sea and preventing or protecting them for the civil wars” (Paul 27). Further more there are several biographies which were published after his death claiming that Crowell was an energetic campaigner of liberty who loved men as opposed to books’ and their for he was a man who had ambitions and was not proud. This publication provides controversies about the true picture of Oliver and what exactly who he was. It is clear that those who supported his course or his opinions would judge him favorably as opposed to those who were against his ideologies like the Irish who criticize his leadership and look down upon him and is not their role model. For instance, Edward Hyde in 1667 in his book History of the rebellion and civil wars in England ,Celadon declared that Oliver would be looked upon by posterity as being a bad man who caused a lot of harm to the people by his massacre which caused a lot of pain and death to innocent people. Furthermore, he claims that the Great Spirit and energy and his ruthless way to rise to the powers aided his ascension to power. John Tolland also hold the opinion that Cromwell protectorate was that of military ad tyranny as he is portrayed as one an who brought to an end of democracy rule in the early 1640s. It is in this years that he began his military formations and resisting to the ideology of the Charles I rule that resulted into conflicts and wars that led to civil wars leading to death of many innocent people.

Cromwell has also be presented by Thomas Carlyle a in 1840 as a hero in his conquest between the good and the bad and his is presented as a model of restoring god behavior and good morals in the society (Paul 23). The fact that the romantic artists and poets adopted Cromwell supports this. People acknowledge him for his role or action he played in his campaigns in Irish and the dissolution of the long parliaments. It is therefore important to acknowledge the far or the magnitude that Cromwell had on Britain. Though he is criticized by his opponents as having caused a lot of death and oppression from his dictatorial and tyranny style of leadership, he must be remembered for aiding in the bringing of sanity of good leadership in the Britain. Britain attributes him for various issues.

Encouraged Religious Tolerance

He fought against injustices, perpetrated by the catholic in their leadership. As political leader, therefore Cromwell did his best in ensuring that all the people irrespective of their religious differences were accommodated in the countries and were treated fairly. Although he had to employ force through civil wars, it was later achieved when he managed to aid in the execution of the king Charles I in 1648. Although, criticized and accused of engaging in genocide by the Irish, Oliver can be attributed to being Moses, as he brought hope in the people of Britain and therefore cultivated a spirit of togetherness. This marked a good start of the journey towards unity and appreciations of everyone’s religion in Britain up to the current time. He also played positive role in governance.

He set up a Stage of a Quasi–Government

Crowell declined to take up the position or rather the title of a king in 1657 after his appointment as a lord protectorate of England, Scotland and Irish. This showed that he was committed toward ensuring that the people were liberated and were able to be governed well without and agreeing to engage in the issue of governance as opposed to the monarch kind of ruling where the monarchs had absolute power in their leadership. Cromwell also played a role in the then constitutional amendments of the monarchy.

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A great Contributor to Constitutional Monarch

Cromwell is also acknowledged for shaping the political status of Britain. Because of his struggle for liberty, during the 17th century, there was a shift of paradigm in the political scene in Briton as the political system of England changed form that of absolute power to that of constitutional monarch and the rule of parliament. “The powers of the monarch are limited by law, crosschecked by parliament and the legislative body” (Morrill 12). In addition, people who are also governed have also the power to question any misuse of power, which is conferred to the monarch by the constitution. This stage to amend the constitutional was enhanced and facilitated by the efforts of the Oliver Cromwell, which saw the people of Britain governed well with their rights being respected through the laws that were in place to check on any instances of misuse of power. These amendments are believed to be the starting point of the democratic space that is being enjoyed and witnessed by the people of Britain. It took the effort of these litigant political leaders through blood shed for what is being enjoyed in Britain to be the way it is.

The monarch is bale to impose and subject their subjects to whatever they want. Rulers in absolute monarch a re not accountable to the actions they do to any person but only are accountable to themselves, their own conscience and their God. Such leadership is tyranny and is not healthy to the people e being governed. Therefore, Oliver contributed a lot to the stamping out such kind of leadership whereby the monarch’s powers were now to be checked through the constitution, which was the supreme law. They were accountable to the people they governed and any actions which they could do that contravened what the law said were to be accountable. He also contributed in establishing unity and peace in the country and other countries.

Enhanced Unity and Need for Peace

The civil war that broke p in Britain also is a clear example and a remainder to the Britain people for the need of staying together as brothers and sisters. The war, which was agitated, by the actions of the king of dismissing the legislative body for 11 years acted as a catalysts. The parliaments were furious about the king’s actions deciding to raise an army to revolt the actions of the King. There was struggle, which existed between the king and the parliament, which was represented by the parliament. Whereby the king claimed to rule by the divine right where as the parliament claimed that right of governing the nations on behalf of representing the people (Gardiner & Rawson 21). These differences culminated to hatred and disagreements leading to civil war, which saw the king succumbing to death. During this period religious and political strife has prevailed I the nations which these two camps being the borne of contagious. The civil war, which broke out lead to many people losing their lives. Cromwell led these revolts, which was in the parliament’s idea against his rival Charles I.

This civil war ended for the last time in 1648 with the captor and killing of Charles hence bringing peace in Britain. It is therefore evidenced that their was a problem in leadership as king chares had absolute monarch powers and he could do an thin that could bring problems to the people. Although there was shedding of blood, it changed the way the people of Britain were re-governed as this incidence marked the end of civil war (Durston 20). This scenario also played like a flash back and a reminder to thee people of Britain making them learn from the mistakes and the effects of any civil wars hence aiding them in creating better relationship and ensuring that they live in unity and administer peace.

Oliver’s influence together with other parliamentarian and the England civil war popularly ; known as the protestant revolutions are attributed and recognized as being instrumental c to the constitutional monarch in Britain. This freedom is up to date being enjoyed by the Britons. This constitutional monarch was resulted through the initiatives of Charles II in his eight years period called restoration, which came to be referred to as the glorious revolution in 1668. Whereby the house of throne still remained on power but parliament through their efforts managed to compel the king William and his wife Mary to accept the bill of rights which asserted that their was no absolute power in England and that the king was to rule amicably and responsibly through the parliamentarians who were the representatives of the nation. This move marked the end of absolute power that has been ever been enjoyed the monarch over along period and has contributed o the current state of Britain.

How the Ideas of Cromwell Gave Say to the Current State of Britain

Cromwell is an epitome and an icon, which is, still acknowledge as one of the hero of the Britain history. Many historian and have written different accounts about his actions and provided different opinions on his actions and the way part or rather the role he played in the 1660s. He is actually a man of controversy and it is a little bit difficult to understand his motivations and the way he successful managed to become the lord of protectorate and ensuring that Charles I dies. Cromwell contributed a lot to the well being and stability of the Great Britain although his contribution may not have been felt directed or immediately. He actually influenced every sphere of life be it politically, economically, socially and even in intellectually. His way of thinking was aimed at uplifting and empowering the people so as to be able to stand up by themselves, make best decisions and choices that would ensure that they prospers. He therefore enhanced or accelerated the thinking capacity of people into more flexible and that of being able to make people have some form of liberty and space to engage in their own activities.

Politically, he transformed the political seen in Britain, which has seen Brittan have a well-planed and organized political structure up to date. For instance, since the end of the England civil war, which saw King Charles die, the political scene of Britain has remained calm and organized. The war and his efforts and energy saw the monarch poses reduced and manned by the constitution, which saw democracy being uphold and practiced by the subsequent kings and queens of the Britain. Through his efforts, there is recognition of the legislation, as an important body of the government in the government, geared with the responsibility of advancing the interests of the people they are representing. This transformations and ideas whereby parliamentarians some time agitate for certain rights is rooted back to the times of Cromwell.

When it comes to the issue of religious and social issues, Cromwell has a great influence to the appreciation of each other religious affiliations (Coward 43). The people regardless of their religious affiliations they are able to embrace each other views and opinions and live together as brothers and sisters. The difference, which threatened the stability of the people, is now outdated as various religious groups or affiliations are necessities and embrace each other’s well-being. For instance, the rift between the Roman Catholic and the Protestants in Britain has now reduced and people are new going on with their activities well and not very much concerned about another person’s affiliation. It has also had positive impact on the economy.

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In a country where there is no peace and security. Economy cannot stabilize and people will not be able to carry their activities well. This will lead to slump in economic growth. During the England civil war, there is no way people could participate in their activities or work comfortably; therefore, it halted the pace of economic growth in Britain. However, after the settlement of dispute and people of Britain recognizing the importance of peace the nation then started to experience economic growth due to the peace that was prevailing. The actions served as a motivation and an encouragement o f the people toward reviving the economy (Michael Para. 5). For instance, Cromwell, after noticing that the Jewish were doing well and assisting in building the economy of Holland encourages them so as invest in Britain so as it is able to compete favorably with the Holland. This example clearly shows how Cromwell was focused individual aimed at ensuring economic growth and sets a good example. In addition, he also reduced taxes to some extend in order to allow the people to recover form the consequences caused by the civil wars. Cromwell clearly provided a guideline in the growths of economy of Britain and therefore ending up to be one of the great powers and a nation with the best economy around the globe. The success of Britain can also be attributed to the wise choice of leaders since from the time of Cromwell.


Cromwell selected best politicians with the capability to head important commissions, which were crucial. This clearly indicates that he was a diplomat and a competent leader. He also emphasized on the need for the leaders to provide exemplary services in their dockets as those who fail to perform well were send home (Carlyle 45). Its key ministries and positions are given to those people who are competence and able to provide good leadership to ensure that best results are achieved. He therefore set a stage whereby important roles are assigned to competent individuals. Therefore, in conclusion, Cromwell played a significant role in the success Great Britain of today.


In conclusion, it is evidenced from this discussion that Cromwell Oliver provided a great influence in the British becoming the way it is. The far that Great Britain has reached can clearly be attributed to have been contributed by the state political leader Cromwell. For instance, the he provided a good ground for many reforms. For instance, when it comes to peace and unity among the religious groups he played a key role in cementing a good relationship between various Christian denominational groups, which has seen the current group coexist and dine with one another together as they embrace each other. In addition, he has always assisted in enhancing the spirit of patriotism and democracy in the current British. Although it took a long period and blood shed the people of Britain were liberated from the chains of tyranny and dictatorship. The abolishment of absolute monarch to that of constitutional monarch is attributed to his efforts. He is considered one of the key player who led to the abolishment of absolute monarch cot that of constitutional monarch in which the citizens, parliaments had the right to voice up their rights and be heard. Furthermore, Cromwell, also con tribute to the current economy growth in the Great Britain because of is earlier strategy and thinking on how economy could be fostered and stimulated. Therefore, despite the varied views about Cromwell, he is a man to be remembered for his role that he did in Britain.

Works Cited

Adamson, John. Oliver Cromwell and the Long Parliament. New York: Word Press, 1990. Print.

—. The English Nobility and the Projected Settlement of 1647. Britain: Rutledge Press, 1993. Print.

Carlyle, Thomas. Oliver Cromwell’s letters and speeches, with elucidations. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1904.

Coward, Barry. The Stuart Age: England, 1603–1714. Britain: Longman Publishers, 2004. Print.

Durston, Christopher. The fall of Cromwell’s Major Generals: English Historical Review. New Zealand: Gibb Publishers, 1998.

Gardiner, Samuel. History of the Great Civil War, 1642–1649. Britain: Longman Publishers, 1886.

Michael, Smith. Oliver Cromwell: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2003.

Morrill, John. The Making of Oliver Cromwell: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution. Britain: Longman Publishers, 1990. Print.

Paul, Robert. The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the Life of Oliver Cromwell. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.

Smith, David. Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum. Wales: Blackwell Press, 2001. Print.

Worden, Blair. Oliver Cromwell and the Sin of Achan: History, Society and the Churches. New York: Word Press, 1999. Print.

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